May 31, 2015

journal of a miss to mrs // 1

Four weeks ago, Greg got on one knee and asked me to be his bride. Four weeks ago, my life turned upside down and inside out as I travelled up and down the spectrum of pure excited joy on one side and dazed & confused on the other. Four weeks ago, I started a whole new season and I am still pinching myself in disbelief that I am getting married to my blessing and my joy in less than five months.

Once the initial shock of being engaged settled, Greg and I began to plan for the wedding of our dreams. Blending our cultures (he is American and I am Romanian), communicating about both little and big wedding-related plans while living thousands of miles apart, and just missing each other on top of everything else started to edge me toward anxiety. Add on the complexities of planning to move halfway across the country as well as transferring my registered nurse (RN) and advance registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) licenses to Texas and looking for a new job as a pediatric nurse practitioner. And then add on the fact that Elena does not like change. I like knowing the plans, jotting down itineraries, and checking off lists. I thrive on order and consistency. Do you see a problem here? SO MUCH CHANGE IS HAPPENING. Yes, yes,  all great changes, but changes nonetheless. Questions started to plague me and anxiety started to swell up . . .
"Will I be a good wife?""Will I be able to find a job where I feel as supported by my coworkers as I do now?""How will I manage being away from my niece and nephew? They'll grow so much before I see them again!"
The list went on and on. Pretty soon, I was crying at the oddest times and emotionally and mentally overwhelmed. My anxiety increased and I had a few panic attacks, which were the first in many months. I started feeling guilty for being anxious because I figured I should be happy and having a grand time planning for a wedding, so why were some days so hard?

Thankfully, God does not leave us alone to fend for ourselves. Instead, He surrounds us with people who have been through similar circumstances and situations. He guides us through the new seasons and lavishes His love over us even when we allow anxious thoughts to rob us of the joy He gives us freely. His presence is just as near in the joyful times as in the painful times.

I had awesome conversations in the past week with different married women who were honest and transparent while also being so incredibly encouraging. They normalized and validated my emotions rather than writing them off as me being emotional and over-thinking things. They asked questions and offered prayers.  They spoke boldly into my life about trusting in God's love and faithfulness in this season . . . And I soon realized,  I was seeing my prayers being answered.

You see, for a while I had been praying that I would have these type of conversations with married women, both newlyweds and seasoned brides. Don't get me wrong . . . I am all for the exciting plans like picking our color palettes, saying yes to the dress, adding pins to wedding pinterest boards, deciding on a honeymoon location, and picking our furniture for our apartment as a married couple. But even more so, I deeply desire to grow in this engagement season and to prepare not just for a wedding, but for a marriage. I want our wedding, but especially our marriage, to be a small picture of God's unfailing and amazing love for His people. I want Greg's and my imperfect love to point each other to God's perfect love. And in the midst of all the planning and busyness, I do not want this to fall at the wayside. So having conversations and community with women who love Jesus and desire to be more like Him in their everyday life as wives is pivotal for me, especially since I have already seen the peace my heart has experienced from such conversations in the past week. I cried tears of joy tonight as I had an unplanned conversation with a newlywed friend that was truly perfectly timed. I was inspired and my faith in God was strengthened as I heard her share about God's provision over her wedding and how God lavished blessing after blessing over her and her groom.

All this to say, once in a while, you may see some random writings from a frazzled (but blessed!) bride-to-be who is navigating this whole engaged thing. You'll definitely hear about exciting, monumental decisions (I bought my dress and booked my venue & photographer in the past few weeks!) but I will not spare you some of the hard lessons I am learning as well. Because really, those are just as important to share. The dichotomy of the bitter and the sweet make something beautiful indeed. You cannot appreciate the full extent of the sweet without having knowledge of what the bitter tastes like. And all of it -- from the bitterness of anxiety and uncertainty of the future as well as the lip-smacking sweetness of daydreaming about living life with the man I love -- all of it can bring praise to what God is doing in our love story. He has been faithful, whether His hand has been easy to spot or not. So I want to let these ramblings be a way to praise Him in this season that I want to look back at with joy, not because it was all perfect and dreamy, but because through it all, God was good and His love was lavished on Greg and I as we embarked on the adventure of marriage.

"When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. 
And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow"
Shauna Niequist

1 comment:

  1. i LOVE how the Lord is moving in your life.
    giving you some grounding in these conversations - reminding you that you're normal, not alone, and these emotions/fears/doubts/worry/confusion happen. <3
    i'm so thankful for your raw honesty. <3
    keep on keeping on girl - i can't wait to hear all about it.


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Elle Alice